Hydration in the Heat for Swimmers

By Coach Ana 

Warmer temperatures are upon us and every year, we see swimmers suffer from headaches, bloody noses, dizziness, and/ or the inability to perform work in the pool or gym.  The culprit?  Lack of water.  Swimmers are in a unique position from other sports because it is difficult to measure how much sweat their bodies are producing during pool training sessions. 

Dehydration is the process of losing body water.  Water loss occurs through urine, sweat, respiration, diarrhea or vomiting.  It is important that you are familiar with the color of your urine and aim for a lemonade color. 


Did you know the sensation of thirst is triggered when the body is already 2-3% dehydrated? This is known as hypohydration which is the uncompensated loss of body water. Athletic performance is consistently reduced when hypohydration meets or exceeds 2% body mass loss. Results include a noticeable decrease in strength, power and anaerobic endurance. Cognitive function including task performance, reaction time, short-term memory and mood state can also be compromised. 

When you sweat, valuable electrolytes are lost and should be replenished immediately. Electrolytes lost in sweat include sodium, chloride, potassium, calcium and magnesium. Replace these by increasing salt in one’s diet, using an oral rehydration solution such LMNT or Drip Drop and/or utilizing sports drinks when rehydrating.

Each athlete should have a hydration plan in order to achieve optimal performance:

  1. Two to three hours before exercise: drink approx. 16 oz.
  2. 5 minutes before exercise: drink 8 oz. 
  3. During exercise: drink enough to limit dehydration
  4. After exercise: drink 16- 24 oz. for every pound lost. Sodium can be added to foods or replaced with a recovery drink.